T. 11-29-93 DEC 20 1993 The Honorable John C.

Danforth United States Senator 8000 Maryland Avenue, Suite 440 Clayton, Missouri 63105 Dear Senator Danforth: This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, William A. Bandle, Jr., which was referred to the Department of Justice by the Equal Employment Opportunity commission. Mr. Bandle inquired about the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that pertain to the installation of visual alarm devices. The ADA requirements that apply to the installation of alarm systems in new construction and alterations in retail facilities are contained in the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (Standards) that are published as Appendix A to the Department of Justice regulation implementing title III. Section 4.28 of the Standards establishes the technical requirements for visual alarms. The ADA Standards establish minimum requirements for the design and construction of new buildings and for alterations to existing buildings. They do not constitute a strict formula for design, nor are they intended to constrain design innovations that provide equal or greater access. The Department's regulation expressly recognizes that there may be other ways to provide access. Section 2.2 of the ADA Standards provides that "[d]epartures from particular technical and scoping requirements of this guideline by the use of other designs and technologies are permitted where the alternative designs and technologies used will provide substantially equivalent or greater access to and usability of the facility." Determinations of equivalent facilitation must be made on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration whether the building element in question, as installed in a specific site, actually provides equal or greater accessibility. Neither the Department

of Justice nor any other entity will certify that a specific design alternative that varies from the technical requirements of cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, Blizard, McDowney, FOIA, Friedlander n:\udd\blizard\control\danforth 01-02862

-2the ADA Standards is "equivalent." In any ADA enforcement action, the covered entity will bear the burden of proving that a challenged alternative design provides equivalent access. For your information, I am enclosing a copy of this Department's regulation implementing title III of the ADA, the Title III Technical Assistance Manual, and a recent technical assistance bulletin on visual alarms published by the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers compliance Board. I hope that this information is helpful to you in responding to Mr. Bandle. Sincerely,

James P. Turner Acting Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures